Conservatives celebrate a year of majority government

Prime Minister Stephen Harper celebrated the first anniversary of his government’s majority on Wednesday addressing the Conservative caucus in Ottawa. In his speech, the prime minister congratulated his peers for a job well done, calling them to focus on a “big vision of Canada.”

Reviews of Harper’s record as the leader of a majority government varied from what the Globe and Mail Wednesday’s editorial called  “a good first year” to what the National Post’s and former Maclean’s columnist Andrew Coyne called “total national confusion.”

Here are some highlights from The Globe and Mail’s Wednesday editorial:

It has been a year since the Conservatives won a majority government, a year in which there have been plenty of ups and downs, the latter including the robo-calls controversy and the Auditor-General’s scathing report of mismanagement and a lack of accountability on the F-35 purchase. But on most of the issues that matter, on the economy, on reining in public spending, on addressing the long-term structural challenges of Old Age Security, on immigration and on the sustainability of health-care funding, the government headed by Stephen Harper got it right.

And from the National Post’s Andrew Coyne:

So although there have been some important shifts in policy in recent months — a major rewrite of federal environmental policy, a substantial retreat on the F-35 purchase, a possible extension of the Afghanistan mission beyond 2014, an effective redrafting of the terms of fiscal federalism — they would for the most part have escaped public notice. Even the government’s most ambitious plans, such as the simultaneous negotiation of free trade treaties with virtually every major trade bloc in the world, or its top-to-bottom reform of immigration policy, are presented as faits accomplis, unveiled in rapid succession without much opportunity for consultation — or for opposition to form.

It may be a majority, in other words, but it’s still playing the minority game: only it is no longer the opposition parties it is attempting to outfox, but the public.